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Ethics Opinions

Opinions of the Ethics Committee over the years are listed below. They make an excellent starting place to research an ethical question. The Committee also can steer lawyers to ethics opinions from the ABA, other states, and other ethics resources that may be helpful. Most importantly, the Ethics Committee exists to be are source for members of the Bar. Please never hesitate to get in touch with questions or suggestions of how the Committee can best serve you.

Please note: The Ethics Committee is NOT the Disciplinary Board. The Ethics Committee exists not to identify and discipline ethical violations, but to confidentially assist lawyers in achieving compliance with the Rules of Professional Responsibility.

  • 2022-07: (4.2, 4.3, and 4.4)
    •  If a lawyer is representing a client suing the client’s former entity employer, and an attorney represents the entity, may the lawyer contact another former employee of the entity-employer about the lawsuit without the consent of the entity-employer’s attorney?
    • Answer: Yes, with certain caveats, such as the possibility that the other former employee possesses privileged information, is independently represented, or has obtained representation from the entity-employer’s attorney.
  • 2022-06: (Rules 1.2(C) and 1.8(a))
    • May a lawyer who has and is providing legal services to a client provide non-legal services as the client’s agent for compensation?
    • Answer: Yes, but the lawyer must clearly define the scope of the services as separate and distinct from the legal services, as well as the practical implications of the fact the services are not “legal,” including the potential impact on the duty of loyalty, the attorney-client privilege, and how the lawyer’s position as a licensed attorney may further limit what the lawyer may do in this extra-legal role. The lawyer must also comply with the rule applicable to business transactions between lawyers and their clients.
  • 2022-04: (Rules 7.4)
    • What must a Lawyer do if a newspaper or other reporter misquotes the Lawyer’s statement in a manner that gives the impression the Lawyer claims to have a certain “expertise” or other certification when the Lawyer does not.
    • Answer: The Lawyer is not responsible for the media’s misquoting of the Lawyer’s statements about the Lawyer’s practice.
  • 2022-03: (Rules 1.7 and 1.10)
    • May a law firm employ a non-lawyer to assist parties with resolving
      disputes as a “neutral” if the law firm already represents other clients adverse to the non-lawyer’s clients?
    • Answer: Yes, but the law firm should restrict the non-lawyer’s access to lawyers’ files and vice-versa.
  • 2022-02: Communication and Candor (Rules 1.4 and 3.3)
    • Issue Presented: What should a Lawyer do if a third party is interfering with the Lawyer’s communication with the Client and if the Lawyer is not receiving sufficient information to believe the Lawyer is being candid with the Court about the facts?
    • Answer: The Lawyer must act to remove the interference. If that cannot be accomplished, Lawyer must withdraw from representation; and the Lawyer should not make knowingly false
      statements to the Court.
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